Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Local Press and Reality - Rant

Part of my job as tennis coach has been to deal with the press, ie. the local newspapers.  Somehow, when I agreed to coach tennis, I had no idea how much of my time would be spent in dealing with the press.  And let me share this little tidbit with you -- IT IS A LOT OF WORK.
I coach the team each day after school for a 3 month season.  We meet everyday that Mother Nature permits and we travel to 7 away matches and 7 home matches.  Each of the 14 matches requires a recap for the newspapers.  And, no they do not send a reporter.
They expect that I will send them a recap either by email or on the phone.  Many times, the initial recap is just the start of the process, as the reporter has questions, etc.  And because they have an immediate deadline, they demand immediate answers, sometimes late into the night.
Before the season starts, each newspaper asks a bunch of questions for a "spring sports preview" concerning all things from rosters, to coach's outlook, to coach's opinions (a very dangerous territory as I do not want to inadvertently offend any competitor either directly or by overlooking them).  And then this "preview" goes through the back and forth process for many, many days.

We are 4 weeks into the season and I am still dealing with one local paper because they can't get their act together.  In fact, I sent a strongly worded email about how I did not appreciate the repeated request for the same information.  It seems that not even the school athletic director is answering their continued requests so they went right to me, the coach.

I got yet another email from the editor "telling me" that they are requesting this information for the sake of accuracy.  Now, our little athletic department has a full time athletic director, a full time assistant to the athletic director and 4 secretaries.  I coach tennis, I am not an administrative assistant who should be spell checking newspaper articles.

In addition to coaching tennis, I have spent 6 hours to-date on writing blurbs for the local papers.  I get no author's credit, no compensation, but do all the work.  And when they lose the info, they simply demand it again.  After all, they hadn't spent anytime on it in the first place.

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